Latest figures from NHS digital won’t surprise any dentist: although it looks like our lot is improving, Scottish practice owners remain the lowest earners across the UK.
The long term trend still shows a significant decline in income across a decade, resulting in reduced investment in patient care.
We remain at the bottom of the heap.
Earnings and expense levels for NHS dentists in Scotland have fallen by nearly 30% in real terms since 2009, for both practice owners and associates, while costs of regulatory compliance and registration have gone up by 1086% in the last decade.
The 1% uplift on pay for GDPs, doesn’t begin to address the decade of underinvestment in dentistry that affects recruitment, retention and investment across the service.
For principals, the average taxable income decreased with the percentage of time spent on NHS dentistry.
Tackling the problem of the growing oral health inequalities in Scotland can only be done with a motivated and adequately remunerated workforce.
In the areas of greatest deprivation in Scotland only just over half (63%) of patients have seen their dentist in the previous two years.
Registration rates may look good in our country, but they don’t give the whole picture – approx. 1.4 million of the registered patients in Scotland have not actually visited their dentist in over two years – this isn’t prevention.
And things are also looking bleak for those entering our profession, with dental students losing access to the Dental Undergraduate Bursary Scheme.
It’s Governments choice, they can leave dentistry at the bottom of the heap or they can step up and commit to providing the first-class dental service that we think our patients deserve.
Chair Scottish Dental Practice Committee